Art

kenya holds first ever albino beauty pageant to combat stereotypes and discrimination

November 2, 2016

Kenya, a country in a region known for its exclusionary culture towards those who suffer from albinism, just had its first Albino Beauty pageant. “Beauty Beyond Skin” was held in Nairobi, featuring 10 women and 10 men with albinism, dressed up as army officers, waiters and police officers to show their ability to take part in every aspect of society. This is the first pageant of its kind, and with the visibility brought by Miss Albinism Kenya, Loyce Lihanda, and Kenya’s first ever albino member of Parliament, Isaac Mwaura, hopefully this marks a turn in attitudes towards albinism in East Africa.

For natives of East African nations Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Malawi, their lives are in danger not just because of the natural vulnerability that comes with having a skin condition, they are also persecuted, hunted, and killed. The condition is seen as a curse and is often treated as a mark of death. On the Black market, albino body parts are sold for obscene amounts of money, because of the myths surrounding the condition, including that there is gold in their bones and that possessing albino body parts like ears or genitals brings wealth and good fortune.

By T. McLendon, AFROPUNK Contributor

Photo courtesy of Africa.com

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Africa.com

Photo courtesy of Africa.com

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